“I want to empower women with objects of desire that reflect their own strength”, says Annelise Michelson, “not simply decorate them.” With her bold and sculptural jewellery, Michelson does just that.
Trained at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, where she was born and raised, Michelson started out working in fashion design, for companies such as Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe and Hermès. But the seductive qualities of jewellery, its intimacy and how it takes on such personal meaning to the woman who wears it, ultimately appealed to her more. The sensuality of wearing a statement metal bracelet, androgynous chain necklace or one of Michelson’s carnivore earcuffs, how they envelop the body, is matched by the process of their creation. Although she was trained to sketch, Annelise feels her way through each piece, moulding, sculpting and draping rough materials to create collections that live in her mind for months and years like obsessions before they are produced.
Michelson’s first break came when she was commissioned a group of accessories and statement jewellery for Carine Roitfeld, then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue France. After this came her Carnivore collection, with bracelets, earcuffs, necklaces and rings to be worn on all the joints of the finger. It was an instant hit with the fashion press and influential women like Rihanna, FKA Twigs, Alexa Chung, and Lady Gaga, to name but a few. Subsequent collections have been inspired by various sources. The graphic lines of architects such as Riccardo Bofill for the Ellipse collection, or more organic textures and natural forms for the Algae collection or the Draped series.
But the common thread that runs through them all is how they emphasise a woman’s relation to her body, often with a hint of glamorous danger. “By wearing one piece at a time or combining many together, you can create your own language and incarnate different personas” says Michelson. Her pieces are all handmade in limited quantities in her atelier in the Marais in Paris, and through a network of carefully vetted artisans throughout Paris using 100% French materials.